05/06/2011 12:04PM

Gourmet Girl was Cannata's claim to fame

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Carl Cannata, who died on April 25 at the age of 90, knew he reached the pinnacle of Thoroughbred breeding when Gourmet Girl won the Eclipse Award as the outstanding older female of 2001.

“How many breeders get an Eclipse Award winner, especially from California?” Cannata said at the time.

Gourmet Girl was one of the highlights of Cannata’s involvement in racing, which he shared with his wife, Olivia. The couple was involved in Thoroughbred racing for nearly 30 years, from the mid-1970s until 2004, when they dispersed their holdings.

Through the years, the Cannatas had horses in training throughout the state; operated Lakeview Thoroughbred Farms in Riverside County; and helped to run the sport through Carl Cannata’s term as president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

Gourmet Girl did not race for the Cannatas. She was one that essentially got away, having been sold for $3,500 at the Del Mar yearling sale. The Cannatas were philosophical about that aspect of racing and breeding, and were the beneficiary of breeder awards through Gourmet Girl’s career, which included 9 wins in 33 starts and earnings of $1,255,373.

“The ones you think are not the better ones turn out to be,” Olivia Cannata said in 2001. “You can’t help but have all the dreams and think ‘I should have her.’ It’s all a matter of chance. We picked seven yearlings to sell, and we had only 9 or 10 that year. We put them in the select sale and decided to let them go.

“That’s part of this business, getting them into other people’s hands. She does well for us in breeders’ awards, but not as well as she does for her owner.”

At one point, Lakeview Thoroughbred Farm had eight stallions, and the Cannatas were active as breeders in Kentucky, holding a share in the stallion Affirmed.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done with our limited resources and limited pedigrees that we’ve had,” Carl Cannata said in late 2003.

They left the sport when they were in their 80s and sought to do more traveling. They sold their 160-acre farm during California’s long-gone property boom.

A memorial service was held for Cannata on May 1. Carl Cannata is survived by Olivia and three children.

Changes to two sales

The 2011 Northern California yearling sale at the Alameda County Fairgrounds at Pleasanton on Aug. 16 will be open to horses of racing age. Entries for the sale close on May 31.

At the 2010 sale, 82 yearlings sold for an average of $4,359, a decline of 15.3 percent over 2009. The move to add horses of racing age is designed to increase trade at a critical time for the sale.

According to a statement on the CTBA’s website, “The future of the sale is dependent on the interest/support from owners and consignors.”

The Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds intraining on May 16 will have a supplemental catalog that includes two recent winners – Joyzey Billy and Compass Rock.

Joyzey Billy, a Momentum colt owned and bred by Paul Reddam, won a maiden race for statebreds over 4 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park in his debut on April 24.

Compass Rock, an Orientate colt, won a two-furlong race at Golden Gate Fields on April 29 in his second start. Compass Rock was purchased for $6,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The one-day May sale begins at 6:30 p.m. There is a training preview at 10 a.m. on Friday.